A Guide to Seborrhoeic Dermatitis in Babies

Babies have sensitive skin that can be irritated easily. Nappy rash are particularly common and can be uncomfortable for your baby. It affects most babies, but some are more prone than others. Also, illness and diarrhoea can make your baby more prone to nappy rash. However, not all skin irritation around the nappy area is because of nappy rash. If the rash around your baby’s nappy area appears blotchy and scaly, it could be a symptom of

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis.
Seborrhoeic Dermatitis has no known cause, and can appear during the first few months of your baby’s life. It can also affect other areas including the scalp, neck, face, armpits and chest. It generally disappears by the time your baby turns two. However, it can come back after puberty, and reappear from time to time throughout your child’s life.

What are the symptoms of Seborrhoeic Dermatitis?
Apart from blotchy and scaly rash around the nappy area, Seborrhoeic Dermatitis is also:
1. Slightly itchy (As your baby can’t tell you she or he itch, look out if your baby scratches the affected area.)
2. Cradle cap – thick yellowish scales on your baby’s scalp
3. Scaly areas behind the ears, on the forehead and eyebrows

Possible Complication
Seborrhoeic Dermatitis doesn’t have any serious complication. However, scratching the affected area can cause bacterial infection, like impetigo, turning the rash raw and weepy. If you suspect that your baby’s skin condition has turned into impetigo, he or she needs to be seen by your GP, who may prescribe antibiotic ointment.

Home Remedy
Make sure that you keep the nappy area clean and dry. When cleaning the area, use emulsifying ointment or just warm water. Don’t use baby soap, as this can further irritate the skin. Avoid using wet wipes. Use wet cotton wool instead.

If your baby’s scalp is affected, you can remove the cradle cap by gently massaging oil on your baby’s scalp, and leaving it overnight. When your baby wakes up in the morning, brush your baby’s hair, to dislodge the scales on your baby’s scalp. After brushing, wash your baby’s hair to remove the scales.
You can also see your pharmacist who can recommend a corticosteroid cream you can apply on the rash. Corticosteroid is more effective if you use it as soon as you see the symptoms. So don’t wait too long before you see your pharmacist.

If your baby’s neck and chest are affected, make sure the areas are kept clean and dry. Use bibs to soak your baby’s dribble. It is probably best to use bandana bibs, as traditional bibs don’t cover your baby’s neck. Change your baby’s bib before it gets soaked.

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